Manila Observatory to expand automated weather stations in coastal cities

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The Manila Observatory has forged an agreement with Shell companies in the Philippines, together with Smart Communications, in boosting climate resilience and disaster preparedness of local government units (LGUs) across the country.

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This will be achieved with the expansion of Manila Observatory?s network of Automated Weather Stations (AWS), an established system of stand-alone devices that can accurately record temperature and humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, as well as rainfall.

The Manila Observatory is the Philippines? oldest earth system science research institute. On its 150th year, the non-profit institution is advocating a new model of evidence-based, public-private partnership to advance resilience in exposed and vulnerable coastal cites.

?These coastal cities are vital to socio-economic and ecological resilience,? stated Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, executive director of the Manila Observatory.

?They are sites of investment in infrastructure that link them to the national economy, through the services they provide, as well as employment and livelihood for local and migrant populations. All these, however, make them both exposed and vulnerable to extreme events.?

In Metro Manila, the Manila Observatory currently has an AWS network that covers an approximate area of 625 kilometers. With the installation of additional AWS points in coastal cities, the information gathered will enhance Manila Observatory?s urban risk and resilience analysis, as well as its regional and local climate system research.

Shell is supporting the installation of a total of 50 weather stations concentrated across Iloilo City in the Visayas, and in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, utilizing its gas stations and oil depots as sites in order to achieve strategic reach for the AWS network. Smart, as telecommunications partner, will provide the technology in data transmission in each coastal city.

Near real-time weather data will provide situational awareness to local partners and to the analysts at the observatory. To further enhance the use of local data, a technical support and research partnership has been formed with the University of the Philippines?Visayas. The AWS network will directly benefit the respective LGUs in their climate and disaster resilience planning.

In Iloilo, 10 sites have already been identified for AWS installation, which include nine gas stations and Shell?s oil depot at Lapus Terminal. The climate resilience seminar will likewise be brought to Davao and Cagayan de Oro when the next batch of AWS units are installed.

The remaining AWS units will be placed in strategic sites of Shell across the country. The complete Shell AWS network is set to become operational within the year.

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